After hearing Michael Bungay Stanier talk about how to Do More Great Work on the GTD Virtual Study Group, I had to read the book. It took me awhile to and I have to say I am glad I finally did. It is a very disciplined approach to finding what work is one's true calling, or Great Work.
Stanier contends there are three kinds of work: Bad, Good and Great. Bad work consists of those things we do that are a waste of time, energy and life. Good work is the familiar, useful, productive work we do day in and day out. Great work, however, is meaningful, has an impact and makes a difference. The idea is to eliminate bad work and spend more time on great work.
The book is short, only a couple hundred pages. Stanier has sprinkled in coaching stories and 'guest posts' by noted luminaries such as Seth Godin, Penelope Trunk and Leo Babauta amongst his material. It reads much like a blog with interesting tidbits thrown in to spice it up.
The stars of the show, of course, are the exercises. The book contains 15 maps designed to lead one through the process of discovering, defining, planning and executing their Great Work. Each exercise builds on the last and provides insight into the Great Work to be done.
I have read several books that give exercises, questionnaires or other assignments throughout. I am not one who likes to take the time to stop reading and do as I'm told. I will often read straight through, promising myself I will go back after I finish and do the exercises. I never do, though. Not once. This book is the first where I am actually doing the work. I did stop and do the first three exercises before plowing on to the end. Now that I am done, I want to go back and do then all.
Another feature of the book I really appreciate is the companion website and podcasts. Stanier has created short movies to help bring the point home. Also, the exercises are on the website as pdf files. This is a critical bonus to me as I don't like writing in books, much less exposing my deepest thoughts to whomever may come behind me and pick up the book. I like having those separate sheets to work with.
This is a book to be read, thought about, read again and acted upon. We all have Great Work to be done. I like the way Stanier guides through the process. The exercises unlock new ideas and helps make sure nothing is overlooked. These short activities (maybe 5 minutes each) are designed to provide insight. None are trite or useless. They are to-the-point, easy to do and push the reader to actually doing the Great Work. This book is well worth the time and money. Get out of the chair and go Do some Great Work.
I am sorry this post is delayed. Seems I got watching the Auburn - Oregon game last night. Congratulations to Tara's Tigers. War Eagle!